Salami, Arugula and Lentil Soup

I kid you not when I say that this soup was concocted from some of the last things hanging around my very empty fridge. But I also do not jest when I describe it as one of the tastiest little surprises of the year thus far. Earthy, hearty and more than a little rustic – it fulfils everything I love in a soup. The saltiness of the salami and the warm earthy quality of the arugula and lentils made for something very special indeed.

Serves 2-3

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 spring onions (chopped)
1 stick celery (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
6 large slices salami (torn into smallish pieces) (I used a spicy italian variety)
1 large bunch arugula (rocket) (thick stems removed)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsely (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup fresh celery leaves (chopped) (optional)
salt & pepper
700ml chicken stock
1x400g can of cooked lentils

Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a moderate heat until hot. Add the spring onion, celery and garlic and fry gently for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the salami and fry for a further 3 minutes until all the fat has rendered. Add the arugula, parsley and if using, celery leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes until fully wilted. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt and a good helping of freshly ground black pepper.

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Using a stick blender, blend the soup into a roughish texture – so that the leaves are all chopped but not too smooth. Drain the lentils and add to the soup. Check for any additional seasoning. Simmer gently for a further 1-2 minutes before serving.

Serve alongside plenty of crusty bread.

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